It is that time of year again. Time to get out your favorite NFL team's gear, order your season tickets, order the Sunday Ticket, and get your fantasy team going. However, this year was different for the league, teams, players, and fans alike. As the season had a big question mark over it on whether or not it would even happen, or if it would happen but on time. As we are now aware of, the 2011 NFL season has begun its pre-season and as I write this post, week two of the pre-season has just concluded.
So with the aforementioned said, you'd think that all NFL fans would welcome the league back with the scare of it almost not occurring being the fact. Well some fans in San Francisco, California would act like nothing happened and this was another pre-season game. The game was between cross bay teams, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. The venue, Candlestick Park in San Francisco. According to both the local media and fans of both teams, this game would hold a rivalry spirit. Even-though, the teams don't play each other in regular season play but once every four years. A true rivalry is someone you play at least twice a year and is a team that is within your own division. The other item that has been brought forth by the local media was the label "Battle of the Bay" placed on the game that is played in the pre-season. This label doesn't even make any sense. The only time this label should be placed on a Raiders/49ers game is when they play each other in the regular season and/or when possible in the Super Bowl. The pre-season match up is the NFL's marketing department at work getting the regional teams to play each other as a way to lure in more revenue in the area. Of course, all other teams have their so-called regional pre-season games as well (i.e. New York Giants/New York Jets; Miami Dolphins/Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Dallas Cowboys/Houston Texans; etc.).
The San Francisco 49ers has released this statement in regards to the violence that occurred on this past Saturday's pre-season game between the Raiders and 49ers:
“Our entire organization is hopeful for the recovery of the victims from last night’s violence. These kinds of events are disquieting to everyone in the Bay Area community. Today, we are working to assist the San Francisco Police Department in any way possible to understand how and why this happened.
The San Francisco 49ers will continue to gather information regarding the incidents reported, through ongoing communication with the San Francisco Police Department, stadium security and medical personnel. The 49ers’ primary concern has always been, and will continue to be, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our fans on game day.
We will be working with the SFPD and efforts to conduct investigations into these matters.”
The NFL had the following statement:“We deplore the activities of a handful of fans at last night’s game between the 49ers and Raiders. We pledge our full support to Mayors Lee and Quan and to state and local law enforcement agencies. We are carefully reviewing the events to make sure we have a full understanding of what took place. We will work with our clubs and law enforcement agencies to ensure responsible fan conduct at all NFL games and a safe and enjoyable game experience for all fans in attendance.”
Note: Once more information from the SFPD investigation has been conducted, the San Francisco 49ers will hold a media briefing to answer questions and provide more detail on the events of Saturday night. We expect that briefing to happen in the next couple of days.
It was announced by a high ranking official from the NFL league office that the 49ers/Raiders pre-season annual meetings has ended as the result to this last Saturday's violence at Candlestick Park.
My thoughts on the violence is you cannot put the fact the two regional teams play each other that the true "Faithful" fans of the two teams and the NFL get punished. What really needs to be done is the stepping up of security and law enforcement presence with multiple patrols in the parking lot and throughout the stadium, the possible idea of prohibiting ANY and ALL alcoholic beverages from being brought on site for the pre-game tailgate, the limiting to the number of beers sold to an individual during the game itself, and limit when fans can actually begin to arrive on-site at pre-game to maybe only a couple hours prior to kick-off instead of five hours prior to kick-off. To assist in the help with security, install an HD Closed Circuit Camera system in the parking lot for the stadiums security to have instant access of monitoring activities in the parking lot.
I have been to several games in the past, whether it's with the Raiders or another team coming to Candlestick Park, I have seen and been introduced to a fan base that don't belong as a Faithful fan of the game. People have gone to the games becoming so intoxicated prior to kick off, they don't recall what actually happens at the game. Now that's pathetic. So when the NFL made the announcement of stopping the the two teams from playing each other, is just a simplistic way of not truly dealing with the poor class of fans that attend sporting events, whether in the NFL, MLB, AFL, NBA, MLS, or NHL. Doesn't matter the sport, the leagues, nor the sports organizations; the host facility need to be held not only responsible, but accountable for the safety of patrons visiting their facilities.